How do you feel about Lord Shiva
How nice it can be to be alone
At 6:15 am there is a knock on my door. I open it and find a yellow pot with honey-sweet ginger tea. From the balcony I watch the broad Ganges flowing in the valley as I wake up. There is only a transparent plastic roller blind between us. Against monkey visits. Rishikesh, the yoga capital, glitters down there. Every year thousands from all over the world come to the ashrams, temples and yoga centers on the holy river bank. The cicadas roar so loudly, impossible to concentrate on reading the Hindustan Times.
I decide to at least put on the white linen top, so as not to attract attention among the guests who willingly dressed in uniform, and walk through oleanders to the yoga pavilion. A peacock beats its wheel for me. The chef stands on the edge of a clearing and prays. Whoever comes towards me bows with hands clenched in front of their chest. The sun is just rising over the magnificent Maharajah palace, where Lord Shiva is said to have retired to asceticism.
The strict teacher rebukes me for moving arms and legs uncoordinated. I guess I'm not quite there yet. At the moment. I remember yoga isn't about performance and I feel pretty lonely.
The headache is getting worse
For breakfast the chef brings me a yellow broth: turmeric and apple cider vinegar, lemon peel, black pepper. "Golden Detox". I have to rinse with plenty of still digestible water. My body type Vata gives me three tiny oat pancakes that taste bitter. Others can eat the fresh fruits from the buffet.
The headache is getting worse. After the foot reflexology massage, I ask the masseuse whether my feet have told her anything about me. "Yes," she says without hesitation: "You have quite a headache!"
Back in my room, I'm tempted to give up and order a coffee. But there are four glasses full of snacks. Almonds, granola bars, raisins and anise biscuits! The snacks the doctor spoke of! I hastily tried my hand at it and am shocked: That should be enough for another four days? There is no kiosk anywhere.
Vata people need a lot of rest
I hardly spoke all day. How nice it can be to be alone. I notice a lime green butterfly visiting me at dinner. In any case, the doctor said you shouldn't talk so much during meals. Vata people like me need a lot of rest, shouldn't travel too much, shouldn't talk too much. Impractical for a journalist.
As I sip my horse bean soup, I wonder if you really have to drive that far to relax. Take three planes, buses, cars. First travel to the airport through Berlin traffic and then through a jungle full of wild elephants. Do I feel less stressed because I'm further away from home?
An old Scot comes to my table. "If you ask very nicely, they'll bring you a burger too," he whispers and winks. At night I dream of chocolate.
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